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A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu submission technique called the guillotine choke, which involves wrapping your arms around your opponent's neck in a way that puts pressure on their windpipe and/or carotid arteries.

 It is rather known as a grappling submission technique. It can be used in self-defense, jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts. This technique can cause unconsciousness if performed correctly. It seems like a big power move, but the smallest, weakest grappler can make the biggest, strongest grappler quickly tap out with it. Other big finishes in the WWE include the piledriver wrestling move and the RKO wrestling move

What this article covers:


Guillotine move is of those submissions where you need to know exactly what you’re doing. If not, you’ll get stuck or caught in a bad position. It is also important to reiterate that the guillotine is submission and not just a headlock. You must be able to find the sweet spot on the neck to effectively choke your opponent out. This submission is simple, easy, and is one of the strongest chokes in grappling once you have drilled and practiced the move.

DOMINATE THE FRONT HEADLOCK with the help of Dan Vallimont and FanaticWrestling.com!

wrestling guillotine

It is taught in several grappling martial arts and is considered worldwide to grappling, involving Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Judo, as well as in mixed martial arts competition and exists as one of the most natural chokes. This move differs from the wrestling armbar technique.  

The guillotine is a chokehold that is executed by wrapping one arm around the opponent's neck and grasping the hands together to apply pressure to the neck. The other arm can be used to control the opponent's body and prevent them from escaping the hold.  

The end goal is to restrain your opponent by choking them out. The choke can be performed in various positions, including standing, on the ground, or against the cage.

It is important to note that the guillotine, like any submission move, can be dangerous if not performed correctly and can cause serious injury or death. It should only be performed by trained professionals in a controlled environment. Other dangerous but effective moves to study and understand if you are interested in, specifically the WWE are the flying drop wrestling move and the butcher wrestling move

Never apply the technique in a quick, snapping, or jerking manner. Instead, the technique should be applied with firm, steady pressure that is applied gradually. This will not hinder the effectiveness of the technique but will allow it to be applied safely and repetitively in your training.


The guillotine choke is a submission that can be traced back to the earliest days of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It is usually one of the first chokes that students are taught, it is very effective and typically used at the highest levels of both Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and mixed martial arts.

The Guillotine choke is named after the medieval torture instrument. This move puts you in such a position which places the opponent’s head under the armpit and the forearm under their neck, giving the opponent the mirror image of being stuck in a guillotine.


The guillotine choke works by placing enough pressure on the carotid arteries, leaving the opponent trapped in the submission to tap out. However, it should be noted that the guillotine choke can also function as an air choke when the forearm is pressed against the opponent’s windpipe.

 In exercise, though, the guillotine choke usually operates as a combination of the two, with pressure being located on the carotid arteries and windpipe, making it tremendously uncomfortable for the opponent.

Not only is the guillotine choke effective, it is also highly versatile as it proposes several other different variations. Some include, the arm-in guillotine, the 10- finger guillotine, the high-elbow guillotine and the one-handed guillotine.

 Also, the guillotine can be used as a position, giving the attacker control of their opponent. After having control of the head or head and arm is established, the attacker can start working to sweep their opponent, pass their guard or even transition to other submissions.

The guillotine is effective and useful in each group; submission, position, and self- defense technique which makes the move highly popular. This is a big reason why all students should practice and learn to master this technique. It's a very effective movement when performed correctly as stated.


  1. First you want to get your opponent’s head down. This can be either done by waiting until your opponent makes a move toward your legs or if their head is slightly bent toward you. Once you have your opponent's head down, next you want to reach out and yank their head down by gripping your hands behind their neck and simply pull down. It is important to make sure their head is at the level of your chest area and their face is towards the ground.  The ideal time to perform this move is when your opponent comes towards you with their head toward the outside of your body.
  1. Next you want to wrap your arm around their neck. The most efficient way to do so is to make sure their head is still facing down. After their head is in that position, you will wrap one of your arms around the back of your opponent's head. It is important to fully wrap your arm around their neck so that your forearm is completely against their neck. In order to keep the pressure tight, face the palm of your hand toward your own chest.
  1. Take your other hand and grab your choking arm. Simply grab the wrist of the arm you have wrapped around your opponent with your other hand. Make sure you have this hold tight so that your opponent can’t slide their head out from the pressure you created with your arms. There are a few grips you can utilize to secure this hold. The cup-and-saucer grip is performed by making the hand of your choking arm into a fist and gripping the fist with the open palm of your other hand. Another variation to use is a chain link grip, in which the fingers of each hand are cupped to grasp the other. Explore each grip to see what works best and most effective for you.
  1. As you have your hold in place around your opponent's neck, next you want to pull up with both hands as if you are trying to stretch your opponent out. To complete this hold, you want to make sure you push your hips forward and squeeze your elbows in toward your body. Another way to finish this hold is to step forward with one foot and twist your hips in the direction of the foot to trap them in this position.
  1. An optional way to advance the hold is to sit back onto the ground with the opponent's head still within your choke. Place them in a guard position, meaning that you wrap your legs around your opponent's back as they are on top of you.

The second method of the guillotine wrestling move is performed from the ground.

  1. After your opponent is on the ground, move them into the guard position by wrapping your legs around them. Position your feet flat on the ground while placing a hand on the ground behind you and arrange yourself to move your hips back into a sitting position.
  1. While in the guard position, reach for your opponent's right wrist with your left hand. By doing this, your opponent will attempt to counter this move by putting their right hand behind your back where it is out of reach for you.

This is an ideal position to be in for the beginning of the move because it puts your opponent’s head and body closer to you.

  1. From here, you want to pull yourself all the way into a sitting position while wrapping your right arm around the back of your opponent's head and neck. To ensure the hold is tight, keep your right hand near your torso.
  1. Next, place your left hand under your opponent’s chin and then grip your right wrist. This grip needs to be held tight so that your opponent cannot escape.
  1. To finish the guillotine move, you want to position your opponent back into the guard position by wrapping your legs around their midsection as their head is kept tight in the choke with your arms. The final movement of this technique is to pull up with your arms and push down with your legs to stretch out your opponent.

The final and last method to perform the guillotine wrestling move is using this choke during combat. In this method, you are aiming to set up and execute the guillotine wrestling move to force submission, whether it is in jiu-jitsu, martial arts, or self-defense.

The tight choke forces the opponent to tap out or either suffer extreme discomfort or injury.  The optimal set up is when your opponent lunges toward your legs, when they move to escape your guard position on the ground or any other time their head is low and close enough to your body to place your choking arm around their neck.

While aligning yourself up to secure the hold, you need to decide if you either want to constrict your opponent's blood flow or airflow. The placement of your arm around their neck will differ based on the type of constriction you choose.

If you choose to constrict blood flow, make sure your radial bone on your inner wrist is against your opponent's carotid artery, found on the side of their neck. If your aim is to constrict their airflow, you need to fully apply pressure with your forearm against your opponent's windpipe, found at the front of their neck. Both of these methods will force your opponent into submission.  They will either lose consciousness from suffocation or lack of blood flow.

These many guillotine variations will certainly work if you put enough hours into drilling and practicing them. It is recommended starting with the fundamental version because it has the least number of steps and is effective in several positions.

Remember that these techniques are based on the situations you may find yourself in. This makes it very valuable to know at least two to three variations of the guillotine, so that you will become more dynamic in your tactics and technical strategies.

DOMINATE THE FRONT HEADLOCK with the help of Dan Vallimont and FanaticWrestling.com!

 the guillotine wrestling

 Take time to really understand and dig into the subtle differences between each of these techniques. It is important to be aware of how your body is positioned at all times. Drill all the variations, use and play around with the grips and finishes with your training partners or instructor. This will be beneficial for you and important to master the guillotine move.


It is important to know and understand the different ways the guillotine move can be performed, however, it is equally as significant to know how to and be comfortable with escaping from this move, as well.

Below are a few tips for escaping the guillotine move:

  1. Keep your body calm and composed at all times. This is a main idea to keep in mind when trapped in any submission.  Stay comfortable and do not panic, it will affect your ability to think openly, and in most cases, it will give your opponent the advantage in the submission.
  2. Position your arm that is farthest from the side your head is caught in over your opponent’s shoulder.
  3. Position your arm that is over your opponent’s shoulder as high as possible. Then place pressure on your opponent’s face with your own shoulder. This releases some of the strain on your neck and will provide you with precious time before you are forced to submit.
  4. Place your opposite arm and position it against your opponent's leg with your elbow bent. This step is crucial as it will force your opponent into an extremely uncomfortable position. As a result, your opponent will most likely be forced to open up their guard.
  5. Place your leg over the leg that your elbow was pushed up against. This will give you space to slide out your opposite leg.
  6. Turn your hips to the side of your opponent's body that is opposite of your head.
  7. After you have turned your hips, your opponent should be in the position to involuntarily let go of the choke. 

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